January’s a fresh start. It’s also a cold, unembellished, minimalist reality.
Branches stretch tall in a cold winter sky. The way they’ve always done. Like some fabulously strong declaratory sentence.
Sometimes those trees come down. I’ve seen them come down, and that’s a sad day. But when I look out, I see strength. The ancient strength of magnificent trees who throw all caution to the wind and stand between me and the heavens. As is their way.
January doesn’t exactly call to you. It’s easy to zone out in the numbness of these dull, dreary days. And sometimes the look of January is hardly enough to make me look up. But the sounds out there, they still work.
It’s a quiet mid-afternoon, and I try to convince myself it’s peaceful. But the mood is more like melancholy. Trees and what’s left of plants look like they’re scarcely holding on. It’s a still cold quiet void. Quiet and gray. My spirit too.
Yet, if you hang around the quiet long enough, there’s more than silence.
A subtle rippling, just audible. Water moving over stones and around bends. Gentle enough to make singular tones. Soothing, like listening from another room, while a friend strums the guitar. Slowly picking, one string at at time.
Then the chirps. Tiny chirps. Jays and towhees. Cardinals, for sure. Their winter tones are sweet and relaxed now. Comfortable, less commanding, less stressed, almost purposeless. Not the loud complicated spring show-off mating songs or the summer alarms and calls. It’s soft and gentle. As if they’re going about life, hunting the brush for a meal or snack, and mindlessly humming.
There’s been too much gray. Too much cloudy. I’d rather have snow. But we get comfort where we can. And January brings a quiet comfort. If nothing else, it brings quiet. Quiet intersecting lonely intersecting reassurance. A kind of hushed reassurance.